Multiple media reports indicate that a Christian in Iran was reportedly sentenced by a judge to have his lips burned with a cigarette after he failed to fast during the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
Although Islamic rule states that the month-long fasting period of Ramadan only applies to Muslims, the Christian man was reportedly punished publicly in the city of Kermanshah this week. Along with the Christian man's punishment, five Muslim men were reportedly flogged with 70 lashes each for failing to obey the fasting rules of Ramadan, the city's deputy Governor Ali Ashraf Karami told The Daily Mail.
One group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has condemned the recent public punishments, arguing that they are examples of Iran's unfair justice system that often target non-Muslim citizens.
"The silence of the world community, especially of western countries, vis-à-vis these medieval punishments under the excuse of having nuclear talks with Iran has intensified the brutal and systematic violation of human rights in Iran. This will ultimately embolden the Iranian regime to continue its nuclear projects more than before," read the statement from the France-based group, according to The Inquisitr.
According to The Guardian, some Muslim residents of Tehran believe people are slacking in their participation in Ramadan, although public fasting disobedience has yet to be seen in the country's capital.
Hamid, one Tehran resident who works a telecommunications job, told the British media outlet that "Everything [about Ramadan] is different this year."
"In 1995, if someone had even a drop of water, everyone went and reported it and that person would get fired, or just scolded if they were lucky. Not any more, though. People are looking out for each other. I almost miss those days, though. It's like people's hearts just aren't in religion anymore."
As The National reports, power outages earlier in July tested Ramadan resolve in Tehran, as residents were deprived of air conditioning in intensively high summer temperatures, as well as television to distract them from the nearly 16-hour fasting periods.
"It is very difficult to fast in this weather," Bahador, the owner of a local Tehran fruit shop, told The National.
"I used to fast in my hometown because people believe in Islam from the bottom of their heart. But in Tehran, life is becoming more difficult every day and people find ways to escape rules," the 31-year-old Kurdish Sunni Muslim added.
This year, Ramadan is observed from July 10 to August 8, and requires Muslim participants to fast from food or drink, regardless of the summer temperatures, from sunrise to sundown.